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The U.K. government was forced to release documents Wednesday, detailing the assessment of what a no-deal Brexit will look like. And it looks bad.
Fuel shortages, job losses, trouble at the Republic of Ireland-U.K. border, a delay in receiving medicines, and a decrease in fresh food are just some of the things the government expects to happen if the U.K. leaves the European Union without reaching a deal come Brexit deadline on Oct. 31–a deadline Prime Minister Boris Johnson isn’t budging on. Members of Parliament voted on Monday for the government to release the documents, dubbed “Operation Yellowhammer.”
The documents were previously leaked, but this was the first time they were released to the public in an official capacity. The government claims that the documents simply lay out the absolute “worst-case scenario” and that it is more prepared now, but the public–along with the official opposition Labour Party–isn’t buying it.
Some believe the document isn’t comprehensive enough and that the full assessment is actually much, much worse.
“Once you’ve read the #Yellowhammer documents; fear the nightmares their bleak picture paints & consider this: The released & redacted papers actually hide the worst of a No Deal Brexit,” one Twitter user wrote.
As dire as the #yellowhammer summary is, it did not include:— Best For Britain #StopBrexit (@BestForBritain) September 11, 2019
1️⃣ effect of EU27 citizens leaving
2️⃣ effect of British pensioners returning
3️⃣ the effect of a weak pound
My first impression is, is this all? Surely Whitehall imagination stretched further than 5 written and 1 white pages... 🤔— Geor (@geor97) September 11, 2019
Once you've read the #Yellowhammer documents; fear the nightmares their bleak picture paints & consider this:— knowgum #NHSLove (@UKnoGum) September 12, 2019
The released & redacted papers actually hide the worst of a No Deal Brexit.
Reality is: it's likely to be much, much worse for years! Sweet dreams.#StopBrexit
If every UK port and international supply chain hub is gridlocked, potentially for months, over a severe winter and the economically vital Christmas period, damage to lives and businesses would be far worse than #Yellowhammer estimates. That's not Project Fear. It's common sense.— Chris Middleton (@strategistmag) September 12, 2019
Many are freaking out, with many pointing to the dire effect medicine shortages will have on citizens.
“If there is a shortage of drugs, there is a real risk that: Some who require certain drugs to survive may die if there is disruption. Others with chronic conditions may have conditions become life-threatening. Flu outbreaks may be much deadlier,” one Twitter user pointed out. “Worth it?”
Second read through #operationyellowhammer and you can't help but conclude: any Government that would allow this to happen to its own people constitutes a serious threat to national security? @nicholaswatt @lbcbreaking— Michael Dougan (@mdouganlpool) September 11, 2019
this sends a cold shiver down my spine, they don't care and they never have.— yeehaw (@ShinySeviper) September 11, 2019
Oh fuck off BBC News, trying to say Boris is for the people, against the Establishment. He is the fucking Establishment you twats. He might be your pin up boy, the rest of us think he is a wanker. #Prorogation #Yellowhammer #BorisJohnson #Brexitvote— Christopher Johnston (@johnston277) September 11, 2019
How many deaths from medicine shortages are worth a No Deal Brexit? 10? 50? 500?— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) September 11, 2019
To paraphrase Hilary Mantel, one life might not be much in the grand scheme of things - but it means everything to its possessor #Yellowhammer.
If my epilepsy medication runs out I am literally fucked. I can guarantee many people will die if what this report says is true about medication shortages.— Toby Fountain (@fountain_toby) September 11, 2019
If there is a shortage of drugs, there is a real risk that:— Mike Stuchbery 💀🍷 (@MikeStuchbery_) September 11, 2019
- Some who require certain drugs to survive may die if there is disruption.
- Others with chronic conditions may have conditions become life-threatening.
- Flu outbreaks may be much deadlier.
Worth it? #Yellowhammer
I know there's more eye-catching stuff, but someone with an elderly parent with dementia, I cannot get my mind off the risk of widespread failure in social care provision for the elderly and what it means for millions of families. Stop this madness. Enough now. ~AA #Yellowhammer https://t.co/yyzZ7uaXLN— Best For Britain #StopBrexit (@BestForBritain) September 11, 2019
You can read Operation Yellowhammer in full here.
Siobhan Ball is a historian, archivist, and journalist. She also writes for Autostraddle and bi.org